Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, and a Very Strange Adventure

Lissa Evans, Author
Lissa Evans. Sterling, $14.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4027-9806-1
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Book - 270 pages - 978-1-4027-9845-0
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Evans borrows several classic tropes and themes—magic, riddles, a quest, and even a night at a museum—for the entertaining story of 10-year-old Stuart Horten (often nicknamed “Shorten” for his small stature) who stumbles into a family mystery when he and his parents move to the small British town of Beeton. There, ­Stuart discovers that his Great-Uncle Tony Horten, who disappeared years ago without a trace, was both an inventor of mechanical devices and a magician. A chance phone call in a broken phone booth is the first step in a journey that leads Stuart around town, as he unearths his great-uncle’s legacy and secrets. Stuart also draws the attention of April, May, and June (the journalistically inclined triplets next door), as well as Beeton residents with more sinister intentions. Evans has crafted an old-fashioned mystery of the kids-besting-clueless-adults variety. Stuart’s dweeby parents are particularly hapless (his father, a crossword puzzle creator, regularly drops lines like “Behold, I bring hydration for your powwow”). First published in the U.K., Evans’s story leaves the door open for the sequel due in September. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
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